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Retail Mergers: Buyer Power and Product Variety

  • Inderst, Roman
  • Shaffer, Greg

This Paper analyses the impact of retail mergers on product variety. We show that a merging firm may want to enhance its buyer power vis a vis suppliers by delisting products and committing to a ‘single-sourcing’ purchasing strategy. Anticipating this, suppliers will strategically choose to produce less differentiated products, which further reduces product variety. If negotiations are efficient the loss in product variety reduces overall industry profit and, possibly, also consumer welfare. With linear tariffs, however, there may be a countervailing effect as the more powerful retailer passes on lower input prices to final consumers.

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Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 4236.

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Date of creation: Feb 2004
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Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:4236
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  1. Roman Inderst & Christian Wey, 2003. "Buyer Power and Supplier Incentives," CIG Working Papers SP II 2003-05, Wissenschaftszentrum Berlin (WZB), Research Unit: Competition and Innovation (CIG).
  2. Dobson, Paul W & Waterson, Michael, 1997. "Countervailing Power and Consumer Prices," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 107(441), pages 418-30, March.
  3. McAfee, R Preston & McMillan, John & Whinston, Michael D, 1989. "Multiproduct Monopoly, Commodity Bundling, and Correlation of Values," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 104(2), pages 371-83, May.
  4. Adams, William James & Yellen, Janet L, 1976. "Commodity Bundling and the Burden of Monopoly," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 90(3), pages 475-98, August.
  5. Henrick Horn & Asher Wolinsky, 1988. "Bilateral Monopolies and Incentives for Merger," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 19(3), pages 408-419, Autumn.
  6. Martin Perry & Jozsef Sakovics, 2002. "Auctions for Split-Award Contracts," Departmental Working Papers 200204, Rutgers University, Department of Economics.
  7. Paul Dobson & Michael Waterson, 1999. "Retailer power: recent developments and policy implications," Economic Policy, CEPR;CES;MSH, vol. 14(28), pages 133-164, 04.
  8. Tasneem Chipty & Christopher M. Snyder, 1999. "The Role Of Firm Size In Bilateral Bargaining: A Study Of The Cable Television Industry," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 81(2), pages 326-340, May.
  9. Katz, Michael L, 1987. "The Welfare Effects of Third-Degree Price Discrimination in," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 77(1), pages 154-67, March.
  10. Palfrey, Thomas R, 1983. "Bundling Decisions by a Multiproduct Monopolist with Incomplete Information," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 51(2), pages 463-83, March.
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